CTIA Fall 2006
The Pearl, AKA the BlackBerry 8100, is RIM's first real multimedia device for consumers.
They made their first consumer play with the 7100 series, introduced almost exactly two years ago. The 7100 series introduced the SureType text keypad, and RIM's first real phone-like form factor. It lacked a camera however, and RIM has also fallen behind other manufacturers in the introduction of music players and memory card slots, and hasn't really kept up with thin trend started by Motorola's RAZR.
The Pearl catches up with all of those trends, and even takes a slight lead with innovations like a trackball.
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Getting some hands-on time with the Pearl, two things immediately jumped out: the finish and the size.
The glossy black finish has an unfortunate knack for showing fingerprints and face grease. (We spent over a minute cleaning it just to take these photos.)
RIM usually offers slightly different styling for each major carrier, so hopefully non-T-Mobile versions won't have the same glossy finish. The Cingular version is due in roughly six weeks. Although we're not sure exactly what it will look like, we do know it will add PTT to the feature mix.
Fortunately, the fingerprint issue is more than offset by the impressive light weight and small size. It's the first BlackBerry that can fit comfortably in a pocket almost as well as a RAZR. It's small enough to make the 7100 series BlackBerrys look like bricks.
The interface has also been updated, although not as much as I had hoped. It's still distinctively BlackBerry-like, and most of it is still clearly designed around up-and-down list scrolling. Unfortunately, RIM did not take advantage of the new four-way trackball to implement intuitive four-way navigation like most other phones.
Speaking of the trackball, it's surprisingly small. It spins freely and easily, although it feels a bit tricky to press down (to select things.)
Voice dialing in the Pearl is another welcome (and long-overdue) addition to the BlackBerry lineup.
To make the Pearl so small and light, RIM had to skimp a bit on a battery. To make up for the relatively short battery life, RIM added external battery contacts on the back that enable the Pearl to work with a dock-like desktop charger. The optional desk charger can charge the Pearl and a spare battery at the same time, giving road warriors some extra power options.
Hands On with Casio's Android Wear Watch
Casio is finally getting into the proper smartwatch game with an Android Wear watch, in the form of the creatively-named "Smart Outdoor Watch". Weirdly, it doesn't don the G-Shock brand, but it's clearly of that lineage.
Hands On with the Casio WSD-F20 Smartwatch
Casio trotted out its second-generation Android Wear smartwatch this week. The WSD-F20 is a major improvement over last year's model thanks to the addition of GPS and Android Wear 2.0.
CTIA to Fight Berkeley Cell Phone Radiation Law
The CTIA has filed a lawsuit in the hopes of overturning a Berkeley, Calif., regulation that will require sellers of cell phones to post warnings about radiation risks. The law, approved in Berkeley last month, will force retailers to post signs warning consumers of the dangers posed by cell phone wireless signals.
Los Angeles Subway to Be Fitted with Cell and WiFi Service
The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority began work this week on adding cellular and WiFi service to select stations along the Red line. Four stations will receive cellular and WiFi service by May, and the tunnels between them will be linked by August under phase one of the project.
CTIA Believes FCC's Power Should Be Kept In Check
The CTIA Wireless Association recently recommended to congress that it limit the powers of the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the wireless industry. The comments come in response to a white paper published by the House Committee On Energy and Commerce earlier this year.
HTC TyTN / 8525 / JasJam (Hermes)
0" display 240 x 320 pixels
Samsung processor 0 GB RAM
1,350 mAh battery
Memory Card Slot, Text Keyboard, Hardware